Album review: Jonny Fritz, “Sweet Creep”

by Jon E. Lynch

Jonny Fritz, “Sweet Creep”

Available: Now via ATO Records as a digital download, compact disc, on “Coke Bottle Clear” vinyl, as well as “Jonny Fritz Flesh Tone” vinyl LP formats.

A good friend and trusted music confidant recently commented to me offhandedly that “ATO Records is absolutely killing it lately.” While I quasi-agreed with him, I will admit here that in doing so, I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that. I knew that the label was started by Dave Matthews to release records independently of major label meddling, but assumed that there was substantial major-label money behind the label somewhere. I won’t pretend to know exactly how it all works, but ATO is a subsidiary of RCA Records, which is under the umbrella of Sony. It would appear ATO releases albums by bands I very much enjoy that I assume (read: hope) won’t compromise their recordings for anyone outside of the band.

Recent releases from the likes of Drive-By Truckers, Old 97’s, Okkervil River, Lucero, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and the latest from Jonny Fritz prove me right, in my mind only.

Jonny Fritz, formerly Jonny Corndog, is an Americana journeyman. An alternative country artist who has a handful of releases under each moniker, released a split seven inch with Deer Tick and has guest vocals on the stellar super group Middle Brother record. This latest long-player is a fantastic contribution to the discography and was produced by Jim James (My Morning Jackets/Monsters of Folk) with contributions from Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes/Middle Brother). Standout tracks include the fiddle-laden “Fifteen Passenger Van” and album-opener, “Are You Thirsty.”

Recommended for the sort that dig the Americana stylings of The Delta Spirit, Diamond Rugs, JP Harris And The Tough Choices, or any of the artists listed above.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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